Cozy Dell Ojai Loop

I wasn’t sure what to name this hike in Ojai.  I started and ended on Cozy Dell Trail, but also hiked at least part of Cozy Dell Road, Fuel Break Road, Gridley Trail, Gridley Road, Shelf Road, Signal Street, Pratt Trail, and Foothill Trail.  I had planned on a 13 mile hike, but a couple of wrong turns took the total up to a tough 14.8 miles.  While I successfully used my map and compass more than usual, it was difficult with so many trail changes.  There are very few markers that tell the actual name of the trail ahead.  I have often written of how I love the solitude I find while hiking.  On this day, however, I really had to rely on the kindness of strangers to get me through.

1   I parked by the side of Highway 33 about three miles past Ojai.

2     4     3   Parking is on the left.  The trail starts on the right next to this distinctive teal building.  Watch out for poison oak at the beginning.

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I rose out of the canyon and was given a view of the cloud covered mountains and valley below.

7     8     11   Photo 3 – Dead fridge by the side of the trail.  I wonder how long it’s been there.  Notice that old latch-style handle.

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14   The clouds on this day looked like wispy, white cotton candy.

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Looking back at the mountains to the west.

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19   Photo 1 – The trail to the left goes up to the highest point in the immediate area – Nordhoff Peak.  I went down to the right.  As I stood there I thought that the high peak to the right might be Nordhoff, but it didn’t seem like it was 4 miles away, as the trail sign says.  Photo 2 – I know there is a tower on top of the peak.  I don’t see one here.  Photo 3 – If you are using a map you will see a hairpin turn on Cozy Dell Road.  Here is a photo of it.  Photo 5 – Sulphur Mountain in the background

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22     21     23   On my way to the Shire.

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There is a very intriguing looking peak in the distance.  Could this be Chief Peak?

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Photo 1 – I overshot my turnoff and was headed up Gridley Trail before this helpful trio from Boston set me straight.  Thank you.  This is what the turnoff down to Gridley Road looks like.  There is no name, just this trail marker.  This is the exact same marker for the main trail. Confusing.  Photo 2 – Red Velvet Ant  Photo 3 – I walked down Gridley Road about a quarter of a mile to get to the next trail.  Photo 4 – Here is the trailhead for Shelf Road – it is well marked but not by name.

30     32     33   The valley is green with citrus and avocado trees.  And Shelf Road is lined for a long ways with citrus and avocado trees as well.  After hiking so far in the afternoon heat the temptation to pick and eat one was quite overwhelming.

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38   Shelf Road ends at the paved Signal Street and leads to the turnoff for the Pratt Trail trailhead.  Photo 2 – The writing on this sign is not visible from the direction I was traveling, but it’s unique shape made me look back.  I passed the drainage dam an followed the signs.

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Quite a bit of the hiking I did was on private property, especially on Fuel Break Road and Pratt Trail.

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I was spit out on another paved road.  I was 11 miles in and a bit overheated.  I became confused by the sign on the road that says the trail “begins” at the end of the street.  And then there is a second kiosk for Pratt Trail.  But I thought it started down below.  I knew I had to go a mile on Pratt Trail for my turn.  Did this mean I had another mile to go?  And another thing that led to my confusion was the map from my guidebook.  I knew I had to turn left at a water tank.  The map had the trail running behind the water tank, while the real trail runs in front of it.  Of course there is no sign indicating left was the direction I wanted, so I passed it by and again started heading in the wrong direction.  This water tank is just a few yards from the second kiosk.  At the next junction I met a man who led me down a shortcut to Foothill Trail.  In our short time together I told him I had been hiking all day and where I was parked.  I was about three miles away from my car at the time.  This man was parked closer by and offered to drive me to my car if I felt I couldn’t make it.  He also gave me a bottle of water.  I must say that the locals I have met in Ojai are some of the nicest people I have met in any area I have hiked.  Thank you to the man in the orange shirt.

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Hiking down Foothill Trail and one last look at the mountains of Ojai.

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On my way home I stopped to watch the Sun set over the lagoon at Point Mugu.

 

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